Tensions continue to mount in Zimbabwe as the country awaits results from the July 30 presidential election. Zimbabwean authorities deployed the army to disperse opposition protesters in Harare on Wednesday, August 1, with security forces reportedly firing live ammunition at demonstrators and killing at least three people. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), has reportedly called for "peace and tranquility" and has blamed leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party for the violence, claiming that the unrest is aimed at "[disrupting] the electoral process."
Police have reportedly prohibited public gatherings to curb protest activity. Additional violent protests and consequent traffic disruptions are expected in Harare in the coming hours and days, as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) claims that it will give further information on Thursday, August 2, regarding when election results will be released. Preliminary results of the July 30 parliamentary elections, released on August 1, indicate that ZANU-PF won a majority of seats. Further deadly clashes between opposition protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
After presidential and parliamentary elections on July 30, a presidential runoff election, if required, will be held on September 8. These elections are the first in Zimbabwe since Robert Mugabe stepped down as president in November 2017 after 37 years in power.
Individuals in Harare are advised to avoid unnecessary movements until the situation has stabilized. Those in Zimbabwe more generally are advised to avoid large public gatherings, even those that seem peaceful, and to monitor local developments.
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